Do you plan and prepare for every aspect of your life? Does your planner rule your life? If you think your planner is just a tool and it doesn’t drive your days, ask yourself this, would you panic if you lost it?
I count myself among the super organized and well- planned. I have not one, but two planners. I write and work from daily to-do lists. I make shopping lists, packing lists and book lists. I have written and organized goals and objectives for my life. I read extensively and research almost everything.
My overpreparation has served me well. It allowed me to succeed in school and accomplish more in my professional life. I am knowledgeable about issues and therefore respected by colleagues. I have been given leadership roles and have been a driver of excellence for myself and for others.
I am starting to realize that my overpreparation just might be a prison of my own making.
Overpreparation causes stress, since the well-planned and organized life comes with relentless to-do lists. There is always something that you should be doing, reading or researching. Time to relax, watch a movie or just enjoy time talking with a friend becomes luxury time, not an important source of rejuvenation.
Overpreparation can take the fun and spontaneity out of life. You spend so much time planning the perfect vacation that you don’t allow opportunities for something unexpected and magical to appear. You spend so much time organizing tasks and directing others that they don’t have to take responsibility or direct themselves. Overpreparation also means that you are likely to spend large amounts of time on reading or researching rather than trusting your own instincts and wisdom.
I am guilty, guilty, guilty. I never watch the movies I tape on my DVR. I relax when everything on my to-do lists is done- which is never. I have pushed myself to the point where I spend more time planning an event that I do enjoying it. The overprepared tend to live in the future, not in the present. The vision has more power than the moment.
In reality, the biggest challenges we face often don’t give us time to prepare. We have to cope and make the best of situations. We have to think on our feet and forge ahead without a plan. We have to understand that we will rise to the occasion and as a result, we often succeed and use our strengths to meet our challenges. We learn to trust our own knowledge and experience, which is a great gift.
I am getting a new knee on Monday. I have planned and prepared for this surgery for months. My surgery date was unexpectedly moved up. My first instinct was to panic. I have a large list of things to do since I know that I won’t be out and around, and won’t be able to drive for the next eight weeks.
I have to let it go. I realize that I won’t get my Christmas shopping done. I didn’t get to the post office to buy stamps. I don’t have the next five blog posts written. There are no extra meals in my freezer.
I will survive. I will learn to trust my family; they are more than capable of helping me out. Diligent preparation is a pretty good strategy for success, but so is knowing yourself, and trusting in your ability to do what you need to do. I can’t predict everything I will need in the next few months. I will have to figure it out as I go.
It makes me a little uncomfortable to loosen the reins on myself. I know it is good for me. I am reminded of the words to one of my mother’s favorite songs:
“Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be, the future’s not ours to see, que sera, sera. ”
I will work on embracing the unknown, the unplanned, the unprepared.
Whatever will be, will be.
What do you think? Can we be too prepared? Are you a preparation addict or have you learned to let go and deal with things as they come?